Anger, shock, shame and sadness are all common emotions for anyone facing restructuring or redundancy – but there is a way through.
CDL Insight Consulting are change management and outplacement specialists supporting people who have been made redundant, and coach and facilitator Kirsten Nicholl knows all too well how to navigate the emotions of those hurting after losing a job.
She has worked to help transition hundreds of people through the process and come out the other side.
"You're meeting this person at a really vulnerable time. Often, they'll come in and it's like they've been hit around the head…they're seeing stars.
"Some of them are very emotional and some of them are really angry and it's about assisting them to deal with that initial shock of what's happened to them and giving them the emotional support – and slowly but surely guiding them on that road to where they start to feel, actually, yeah, I have got skills and competencies."
While helping staff has traditionally been an internal HR role, Nicholl says outplacement services are essential for an organisation going through change; they need to be able to manage workload and maintain a good reputation.
"HR is now stretched so thin. There are just so many functions within an HR role, how can they possibly then develop deep expertise in this one particular area?
"We actually have to look after people. We can't keep whipping people, hitting them with a stick and expecting them to work. We need to actually start caring about people and I think this is part of the duty of care, especially given that there's so much change all around us all the time.
"People's need for certainty requires that they trust where they're at and who's employing them."
Nicholl says there are many benefits in outsourcing for employers.
"There's always the potential legal ramifications of not sending people on their way gracefully.
"You've got this angry, emotional, disgruntled employee; perhaps a bit of a challenging individual who may or may not have other challenges in their life that they're bringing to work. They may be looking for a place to vent and looking for somebody to take down with them, because they're feeling so vulnerable and so angry.
"I think outplacement support can really assist in many cases to avoid personal grievances and other potential litigious issues for organisations. It's a cost saved and time not wasted", says Nicholl.
With a large number of Kiwis having experienced or currently experiencing redundancy due to the global pandemic, Nicholl says she's noticed increased competition for the roles that are available, so having the right CV to stand out is imperative.
"Since the pandemic, there's this air of slightly manic, greater heightened sense of worry and anxiety or anxiousness around – 'Oh, my God, am I going to get another job?' If anything, I think that emotional support has become even more important.
She says employees should not let their anger at the situation get in the way of help being offered by a soon to be ex-employer.
"It's really interesting because sometimes people are so angry with how they've been treated that they actually don't even take up the offer of coaching. I know that when someone's in that space, they are the people who need it the most.
When a person like this is referred to Nicholl, her aim is to secure a single session with that person. In one session, she says, she can help them understand she's not there to judge them, share confidences with their employer nor make them feel bad about themselves – but instead to help them.
"There's this moment when you're working with a client and you can almost see the change coming over their face and I'm thinking to myself, 'We're there, you've got it'."
See link to listen to podcast: Ep 2. Can Outplacement Work In Favour Of The Employer?